From Fred Itua, Abuja
A civil society group, the Action Alliance of Virginia Pavilion, has called on the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, to disqualify the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu in the 2023 general elections, over alleged involvement in narcotics and money laundering.
The group in a letter titled: “Demand for You to Uphold The Oath of Your Office By Delisting The Name of Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu As The Presidential Candidate of The All Progressives Congress in the 2023 General Election”, stated that Tinubu by virtue of his forfeiture of the sum of $460, 000 to the United States government in 1993 is not fit to hold public office.
In the letter dated November 14 and signed by the group’s lawyer, Mr Kalu Kalu, the group argued that Section 137(1)(d) of the 1999 Constitution forbids anyone under a fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud from vying for the office of president in Nigeria.
The group also drew the attention of the INEC boss to letters earlier served on the NDLEA and Attorney General of the Federation, over the issue.
“As evident in recent media reports you are already aware of the contents of the Court proceedings referenced in annexure “L1”. However, for ease of reference we hereto attach the said proceedings and is marked annexure “B”
“Arising from the proceedings in annexure “B” we demand that you uphold your oath of office which enjoins you to perform your duties in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution. We, therefore, invite your esteemed attention to Section 137(1)(d) of the 1999 Constitution which provides thus:
“A person shall not be qualified for election to the office of President if he is… under a fine for any offence involving dishonesty or fraud (by whatever name called) or for any other offence, imposed on him by any court or tribunal.”
“Arising from the above provision we state clearly that Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu is disqualified from contesting the presidential election in 2023 in accordance with the above provision.”
In supporting their allegations, the group referenced part of the Court judgement which read thus:
“It is hereby ordered that the funds in the amount of $460, 000 in account 263226700 held by First Heritage Bank in the name of Bola Tinubu represent proceeds of narcotics trafficking or were involved in financial transactions in violation of and therefore these funds are forfeited to the United States.
“It is further ordered that First Heritage Bank shall issue a cheque in the amount of$460, 000 payable to Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and these funds shall be disposed of according to law.”
The group described as “improper” the unwillingness of the commission to investigate Tinubu, over the issue, just as it threatened legal action.
“Indeed, your Press Release revealed a clear intention to aid a drug baron and money launderer to escape the sanctions of the law.
“Accordingly, we are by this letter making a demand that you issue a proper statement on the matter to the effect that you will, in accordance with the Constitution, delist Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu as a Presidential Candidate in view of the express decision in annexure “B” which imposed a forfeiture on the account of Bola Ahmed Tinubu for his involvement in Narcotics Trafficking and Money Laundering.
“TAKE NOTICE that unless you heed the demand herein made within seven (7) days from receipt of this letter, we shall without further notice to you take appropriate legal action to compel you to keep faith with the Constitution which is supreme to which you swore to uphold. We do hope wise Counsel will prevail.”